August 10, 2020
The IFPA’s website and health information leaflets are transparent about the IFPA’s values and services: we are a rights-based women centred service and we offer quality pregnancy counselling, early abortion care, post abortion care, including counselling. We make clear that we respect our clients’ autonomy and support them through whatever decision they make.
We are funded by the HSE Sexual health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.
The welfare and wellbeing of our clients is paramount. We know from our services that women and girls find the experience of mistakenly engaging with anti-abortion advocates offensive, distressing or infuriating.
The risk that someone seeking professional care from the IFPA’s accredited counsellors or other services might instead come into contact with a disingenuous anti-abortion group is one we take seriously.
There is a wider issue here: anti-abortion activists are free to set up rogue agencies with the aim of preventing women from availing of abortion care. The attempts of anti-abortion groups to deceive and manipulate women to stop them from accessing an essential reproductive healthcare service has been widely reported and the courts have been involved.
The incorporation of counselling into the regulatory framework that Corú provides for dietitians, opticians, physiotherapists, social workers and other health and social care professions has been promised. This would facilitate service users to find the IFPA and other providers of non-judgemental pregnancy counselling and get care from professional, accredited specialist pregnancy counsellors. But the process is moving far too slowly.
This is a public health and a patient safety issue and the government needs to accelerate the Corú process as a matter of urgency.
The IFPA’s specialist pregnancy counselling team of accredited therapists provide pregnancy and post-abortion counselling at centres throughout Ireland and also via remote access. There is no cost. The service is also available to anyone who has experienced unwanted contact with a rogue anti-abortion group and would find it helpful to talk to a supportive and non-judgmental professional therapist. Lo call the IFPA on 1850 49 50 51.